Days 15 to 18 of our Big Trip of the Simpson and now the Flinders Ranges

Tuesday, Jul 07, 2015 at 19:50

Member - Matwil

Day 15
Well to start the day I need to mention a few things that I had forgotten when getting the previous blog done.
At the debriefing after getting to Birdsville Leader John mentioned that the state of the sand dunes that we had crossed where the worst he had seen in at least seven years, which made our efforts even more rewarding, despite having to leave Ken behind. It was confirmed that Ken would have to stay at least 2 nights in the desert before he could be rescued. When he was finally rescued it was discovered that he had snapped the 2 rear axles of his Land Rover. Such was the strain it put on our trucks.
When we finally unpacked the scrambled mess in the rear of the truck we came to check the fridge and freezer. Well what a sight, it was absolute chaos. One beer can was pierced with the contents everywhere, the tomatoes had been pulped, the lettuce and spinach were pulped as well and there was this red concoction across the bottom of the fridge, partly frozen thank goodness. In the freezer the bacon was shredded so much it didn't need cutting up to make pasta sauce. The frozen meals that had all been neatly packed up were also a jumbled mess with some of them bursting through the plastic bags they were in. The stupid thing is that I had brought along a few empty wine casket bags to be blown up and put in the freezer to stop this from happening. Well we finally put them in when we had cleaned up the mess but it was like shutting the gate after the horse had bolted.
The other thing I forgot to mention was the wild flowers. It rained out here two weeks ago so we are starting to see a mass of wild flowers appearing. There was one big plain on the way to Birdsville that was fill of wild flowers, but we couldn't stop to photograph them because we need to get into Birdsville before full dark.
One side benefit of trying to recover Ken's truck was that Louise had time on her hands so she photographed everything around the Truck in detail.
Last evening we went down to the lake in Birdsville and took some dusk photos. Hope they come out. One of the downsides of a tag along tour for photographers is that not everyone sees what a photographer see, so we miss a lot of shots we would normally stop and take. But we have seen places where will will return and get those shots in the future.
I am writing this as we wind down the track towards Innaminka. The road is well formed and rather boring after what we have driven over in the past week. Sitting on 100klms an hours. We have 90 klms to go before we turn off on the Walkers Crossing track which was only reopened yesterday after being closed for about 10 days because it was un-driveable because of recent rain. Sand one day, water logged bogs the next.
During the day we spent at Birdsville we walked and drove around the town (the whole two blocks of it), and visited the recreation of an aboriginal dream time site that told the story of the Two Kingfishers who became two boys,. It is a story that has been passed down through the generations to pass the knowledge from one generation to another on how to cross the Simpson on foot from Oodnadata to Birdsville., where the water holes will be found and what will be discovered when you get to the other side. After people crossed the desert there would be ceremonies to celebrate the feat and bring the different tribes together. Also recreated were places where the men and women did the secret business and initiation ceremonies. Absolutely intriguing stuff. To think they crossed the Simpson on foot for thousand of years makes our feat of doing it in air-conditioned 4WD's a bit of an anti climax.
The rest of the trip to Innaminka was mainly uneventful and we arrived there in the late afternoon and set up camp. It was state of origin night and the pub there had a big outside screen to watch it on. Before dinner we decided to go to the pub for a beer and before long had settled in for the night. WE changed our minds and decided to eat there as well. Ordered at 6.00pm with the dinner arriving at around 9.30pm after we had to chase it up. To make it worse we did not get what we ordered and also had to put up with the cat calls of the cane toads. The indignity of it all. The only retort I could come up with was that NSW let Qld win because we felt sorry for them, they needed some bright point in their lives. The comment didn't go over well. We staggered back to the tents and went fast to sleep.

Day 16

Woke up early and packed up ready for the trip down to Cameron's Corner (where NSW, Qld and SA meet). Again a straight forward run and really after the Simpson nothing startling to report. We got into the Corner at about 3pm and soon had the tent set up, and again up to the pub for a few beers. Getting repetitious arn't I.
The facilities there are basic to say the least but the camping was good. We prepared our own dinner and went to bed early to be ready for the last day of the tag along. We got word that Ken and his truck were in Birdsville and I think everyone rested easy after that.
At Cameron's Corner there is a 9 hole golf course where you play 3 holes in each state and get a certificate at the end of the round. We didn't do it as we didn't have time. We saw the dingo fence. Some of the party were finishing the trip here so there was the obligatory group photo shoot. The group has been fantastic, working together and we have all become good friends, and I am sure that the friendships will continue on into the future. One of the group is a photographer from Blaxland, so we have hit it off and will be getting together when I get home in two months time.

Day 17
The next morning we were up early to say our goodbyes to those that were leaving us. At 9am those that were left set off for our last day driving together, down to Tibooburra and then on to White Cliffs. Again fairly uneventful driving, but now the country side was showing distinct changes. We got into Tibooburra about 11.30am and sent about 1/2 hour looking around the town. Louise and I will be coming back this way so didn't spend a lot of time photographing and will do that when we come back. It was then off to Milparinka which is virtually a ghost town with a pub. We had lunch there and Louise and I sussed out camping spots for when we come back in a week.Again this is a place where the ruins of a past era are being maintained by volunteers so the heritage continues. What would we do without volunteers?.
It was then onto White Cliffs and a night in the underground motel, and a hot shower. Whoopee. WE got there late as John's Car started playing up again and we stayed back with him to make sure he got there OK. The motel was a welcome sight, and we checked in and went straight for the showers, (after a beer of course to wash the dust out of our mouths). And a truly wonderful dinner. We all stayed up late recounting the adventure of a life time that we had just had, and acknowledging our achievement. I and Louise are going to miss these people.

Day 18.
We swore we would all sleep in, but habit took over and we were all up early for breakfast. We swapped email addresses and than said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Louise and I took off towards Broken Hill where we are going to spend 4 days, replenishing supplies, getting Clive serviced and vegging out. The morning was a beautiful clear day and everything looked good. The Hill was about a 3 hour drive. We got onto the Barrier Highway And as we drove towards our destination we started to see clouds that looked very ominous. As we got closer to Broken Hill it started to rain and when we got phone reception I checked the weather foretaste. It was 5 degrees in Broken Hill with a wind chill of minus 2 degrees. I must have the settings wrong and it is reading the weather in the Blue Mountains. We got to Broken Hill and stepped out to of the truck and it was FFFFFF--------g freezing. It was indeed minus 4 wind chill and colder that Blackheath and raining to boot. I know they need it but now!
Then the discussion started about pitching the tent. To cut it short, tonight we are in a cabin in a caravan park with the heater up high. Its 5 degrees outside with a minus 1 windchill. I know we are chicken, but it has allowed us to stock up supplies, wash our clothes and clean some of the dust off everything. By the way we thought red dust was bad until we came across white dust..... it is unbelievable where it permeates to.

Anyway its 9pm, the blog is up to date so I am going to retire for the night.
Wanting to explore our vast wide land
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